‘Black Mama’s Bail Out Day’ Frees Low-Income Black Women Imprisoned For Minor Violations, Traffic Citations

In dozens of cities, the “Black Mama’s Bail Out Day” movement is posting bail for low-income African-American women who have been jailed for minor violations, including traffic citations, but have not been convicted. 

Women accused of violent felony crimes, such as homicide, will not be bailed out.

One of the women, Ebony Thomas, who was freed on “Black Mama’s Bail Out Day” in 2017, was jailed after being pulled over because her tag light was out, notes Democracy Now.

The mother of three was then cited for driving on a suspended license for a seatbelt violation from 2015. The Atlanta mom was also cited for a failure to appear in court, even though she said she did not receive a notice.

Thomas was locked in the Fulton County Jail, which she said was “freezing cold” for 36 hours before being officially booked.

Thomas could not post bail in the required 72 hours, and was transferred to the Union City jail, which she said was “not only cold, but dirty, it was like being in a dungeon with your hands tied behind your back.”

The Sentencing Project notes: “In 2014, the imprisonment rate for African American women (109 per 100,000) was more than twice the rate of imprisonment for white women (53 per 100,000).”

WHYY reports that the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund will bail out a small group of black moms, including a “woman who’s going to be bailed out this week for Mother’s Day was trying to break up a fight. Police arrived and, assuming she was part of the fight, arrested her and charged her with assault. She was unable to pay $5,000 in bail, and she has been sitting in jail as a result.”

Lateefah Simon, president of the Akonadi Foundation, an advocacy group in Oakland, told the East Bay Times that a black woman, who was a victim of domestic violence was arrested and given a $25,000 bail amount. While in jail, the woman lost her apartment, job and child.

(Sources: Democracy Now, WHYY, East Bay Times, The Sentencing Project)

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